The federal government spends about N120 million monthly to repair vandalised oil and gas pipelines
| By Anayo Ezugwu | May 4, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT |
THE federal government is spending more than N120 million monthly to repair oil and gas pipelines destroyed by vandals across the country. Chinedu Nebo, minister of power, regretted that continued vandalism, which occurs every two weeks, made the country lose more than 1,600MW of electricity at a particular time. The minister urged the incoming government to intensify security surveillance of the petroleum pipelines in the country and consider digitalising the surveillance system.
Accordng to him, despite the increasing vandalism, the government has been able to achieve installed minimum electricity generation capacity of 5,500 megawatts. Nebo spoke at the end of the board meeting of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited presided over by Namadi Sambo, vice-president last week. He seized the opportunity to elucidate on the power challenges in the country which worsened recently due to the vandalisation of the gas pipelines. He said before the present administration finally winds down on May 29, President Goodluck Jonathan would still inaugurate some completed power projects across the country.
“Four power plants have been completed and will be commissioned in the next couple of weeks; Sapele is one of them, Ihobor is another one. Hopefully, and by the grace of God, we intend to do the commissioning very soon so that Nigerians will enjoy even more the benefits of what the current administration has done in the power sector. There are literally hundreds of other projects that need to be commissioned. So, very soon we are going into commissioning exercise,” he said.
Also, Gabriel Suswam, Benue State governor, who is a member of the board, said apart from the new power plants, the government had completed more transmission lines but would not be able to complete some sales transactions because of some complications in the bid process and inadequate gas supply. He, however, said that the inability to seal the sale transactions deals were not due to fear of the unknown when a new government comes on board next month.
This notwithstanding, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, had on March 10, said the country loses more than N8.04 billion since January, to the incessant vandalism of the country’s gas pipelines. Also, Dafe Sejebor, managing director, Nigerian Gas Company, NGC, a subsidiary of the NNPC, said since the beginning of this year the country had witnessed an unprecedented increase in the spate of gas pipeline vandalism. He noted that within the last two months, it has recorded three major attacks on its pipeline network, mainly in the Niger Delta region.
According to Sejebor, whenever these pipelines are sabotaged, NGC are forced to shut down the pipeline, and defer a minimum of 200 million Standard Cubic Feet, SCF, of gas per day. He put the average price of gas at $3 per unit of 1,000 scf, adding that it takes an average of two weeks to repair the damage, and an average of one week to locate the damaged spot and mobilise personnel, equipment and materials to site.
Also, the minimum cost for the repair of a damaged pipeline in the Niger Delta region, according to him, is about N160 million. To this end, at an average price of $3/1,000SCF, multiplied by 200 million SCF product loss plus repairs, Nigeria may have lost about N8.01 billion between January and now. This is put at 1,500 megawatts, as a number of power plants will be deprived of gas to generate electricity.
The NGC boss decried that the recent increase in the spate of vandalism is negatively affecting the economy and the operations of the company. “The spate of vandalism of our pipelines has been on the increase and this is alarming. We are hurting, especially as it has affected us negatively. It is a wilful damage and not as a result of our inability to maintain our pipelines,” he said, adding that the NGC is already holding talks with all its key stakeholders, such as its contractors, security agencies and leaders of communities in its areas of operations, on ways to ensure the safety of the pipelines.